Saturday, August 23, 2014

Thomas Kimball - birth in England, death by Indian.

1633 – 1676

Family lineage: 1 Thomas Kimball, 2 Joseph Kimball, 3 Peter Kimbral, 4 Peter Kimbrell, Jr.,  
5 Buchner Mansfield Kimbrell, 6 Mary Polly Kimbrell, 7 Thomas L. Johnson, 8 Lula Jane Johnson, 
 9 Charles Thomas Copeland, Sr., 10 Charles Thomas Copeland, Jr.

Thomas Kimball, born in Rattlesden, England in 1633, was only a year old when he was brought to America on the sailing ship “Elizabeth” by his parents, six siblings, a grandmother and an uncle.  After landing in Boston Harbor, the family settled in Ipswich, Massachusetts where they started re-building their lives in their new land. 

By the age of 20, the baby who had traveled across the sea in the arms of his mother left the safety and stability of the family home to settle - for awhile at least - in Hampton, New Hampshire.  He obviously was well prepared for his independence since he was a wheelwright like his father and owned mill property on the Oyster river.  

Five years after leaving Massachusetts, Thomas returned home to marry his 21 year old sweetheart, Mary Smith.  Shortly after their marriage, the young couple packed up their wedding gifts and left for New Hampshire where Thomas had  built a home.

Once settled, Thomas prospered.  He became a mechanic and town constable, purchased over 400 acres of land, and possessed a large amount of personal property.  Because of his reputation for honesty, his home became one of the legal places for posting and publishing any order or other business of public concern to the whole town.

But this peaceful life ended abruptly in 1676. Until then, the area had experienced occasional problems with Indian raids that especially harassed folks living on the outskirts of town. The Indians would make rapid sallies by using the Merrimack River to get where they wanted to go and then escape without having to run through the forests.

On the night of May 2, 1676, three well known "converted" (half civilized) Indians, Peter, Andrew and Symon, had planned to rob some people in town.  But by the time they landed their canoes, it was too late at night to make it into the center of town without being detected.  So they changed their plans and attacked the Kimballs who  lived on the outskirts instead.

During the raid, 43 year old Thomas, now the father of 7, fought hard to protect his family but was killed by Symon. His wife and five of their younger children were taken captive and carried forty miles into the wilderness.  According to Mary, she and her baby, John, were threatened with being burned at the stake several times.

As the word of the murder and kidnapping of the Kimball family spread, family and friends grieved for Thomas, who had died too young while trying to save his family. They also prayed for the safety of Mary and Joanna (age unknown), Thomas (11), Joseph (14), Priscilla (3) and John (1), while fearing that their loved ones  might never be seen again. 

Their prayers were answered!  Miraculously, Chief Wanalancet of the Penacook Indians interceded and ordered that the family be freed without ransom.  On June 13, 1676, forty-one days after their capture, Mary and her children returned home and started to rebuild their lives without husband and father.

Once settled in, Mary addressed a petition to the Governor of Massachusetts and the town council, asking that she be protected from Symon, the Indian, who seems to have been the leader of the trio and had threatened to kill her and her children if she ever returned to her home. 

Since these Indians were well known in the community, it wasn't long before they were seized and confined in jail.  However, before any disciplinary action could be taken against them, they managed to escape, and continued to pillage and murder anyone in their path. Unfortunately, there is no record of where they went or did after their escape. (The not-so-nice side of me would like to think that their fate was the same as those they dealt out to their victims.) 
10 years later, when Mary's children were mostly grown and she was experiencing an "empty nest", Thomas' brothers, Benjamin and Richard, moved Mary's aging parents from Massachusetts into her home, and publicly committed to providing  food, clothing and necessities for the elder Smiths.